In a conversation with Bandana Shah, director of Necessity Squared FZE LLC  Sulaiman Nisar, shares his business story along with challenges in the market and future plans.

Born in Abu Dhabi, director of Necessity Squared FZE LLC Sulaiman Nisar is a South African resident of Indian origin.

With a background in electronics engineering and automation robotics from India and South Africa, postgraduate tech nerd Nisar started out as a designer and developer of machinery in the pathology industry. His engineering skills, however, helped him get comfortable with machinery and equipment paving way for a career in the print industry. He also learnt quite a lot about the industry from his wife, who was involved in providing printing solutions to her clients. “It was when I first met her that I learnt about branding, promotion and the printing industry. She would outsource the printing and branding work to various suppliers, and thus, be at their mercy for timely delivery of quality products,” said Nisar.

Tired of the corporate rat race in the year 2010, he decided to join his wife to setup his own company, Necessity Squared, in South Africa’s Cape Town. In two years, the company became an official printing house complete with machines and was able to provide printing solutions in-house. A few years later, Nisar decided to expand his business to his second home in the UAE. “We set up a print house in Ras Al Khaimah FZ in 2018 and made it our main branch. Necessity Squared specializes in providing digital printing solutions to the large format sector and the fabricating sector. We also provide solutions for applications such as printing on metal sheets, glass, plastics, rigid substrates and flexible substrates. We supply machinery, equipment, consumables, ink and other goods including eco-solvent printers, UV printers, flatbed printers, laser cutters, laser engravers and CNC cutters,” he said.

Regarding the changing trends in the industry, Nisar said, “Digital printing has opened doors to other industries such as UV printing. This technology is also used in other industries like interiors, furniture, and hospitality. Then there are other technologies such as sublimation printing or even digitally printing on 100% cotton. The trends are evolving at an exponential rate and this also expands their applications. There has to be more strides to making the running costs of digital market lower such as prices of toners and inks. Middle East is the hub where technologies from west and east meet. However, printing is a large chunk in the economic sector of all regions.”

On the challenges faced by the print industry, Nisar shared that it is difficult for businesses to ensure that their costs are lesser than the end products’ without any compromise in the quality given a competitive market. “This is where getting the right technology, the right machine and at the right cost counts. Sometimes, certain good brands reign over the market for so long that the costs rise putting the customers in a flux about whether they should invest or not. On the other hand, there are other brands that can deliver good quality machines at lower costs but are not ‘popular enough’ to gain customers’ confidence. So, as a solution provider, it gets tricky because customers take longer to decide and invest.”

Speaking about his company’s success, future plans, client and employees, Nisar said, “We have a long way to go but what keeps us on track is thinking like a consumer when it comes to costs. Success is not only defined by the turnover, but also by ambition and customer satisfaction. The customers are happy with you as a supplier only when they consider you as a partner in growth. Our company has faced challenges related to cash flow. Five years down the line, I see my company as one of the most dynamic and innovative in this sector. We would possess new and innovative technology based on application and have customer-centric staff members who offer reliable support. It is important for me how my employees are treated and how they are rewarded for their efforts. We have to create a platform for them to take initiatives. We must also maintain regular communication and transparency with them to ensure that they have a good, long-term future.”

“Apart from the UAE, we have customers in South Africa, Kuwait, Bahrain and India. The market is slowly picking up with demand, but everyone is watching how they spend. So, customers take a lot of time to purchase printers than before. The number of presses in the region has also increased and created a situation of excess supply over demand. Thus, the printers that are cost effective as well as reliable have a good scope. A major drawback for presses is the credit period taken by print buyers which sometimes extends to 120 days or even more. Our expenses don’t have the same credit terms as our invoices. This affects our regular run as our overheads are high. I hope that the trend changes. Given such times of global recession, I would tell my fellow businessmen to hold on tight, we are past the downhill stage so things will get better,” said Nisar optimistically.